Why your weight loss diet can hurt you? (and increase your body fat)

Do you believe that deprivation and hunger are a requirement for dieting success? After all, the notion of “just eat less” is repetitively drummed into us. So often, in fact, that most people have accepted it as a fact of any weight loss journey.

But what if consuming too few calories is harming your body? What if it's downgrading your metabolism and making it more difficult to maintain a healthy size in the long-term? What if the story is far more complicated than calories in, calories out?

Let me be blunt: The tale is more complex. There are 4 important concepts you need to understand.

Let’s take a look…

Consuming too few calories: Why eating too little can cause weight gain?

It sounds logical: The fewer calories you consume, the more fat you’ll lose. The obvious slimmer’s path, then, is a strict adherence to food deprivation. If you hit a plateau, just further diminish your energy intake. The theory is to force your body back on track.

However, when you don’t eat enough, you alter your biology. As starving was a real risk in times gone by, the body is innately designed to safeguard survival. There are in-built protective mechanisms to prevent death from occurring.

Too few calories leads to a process called metabolic adaptation. As you eat less, you subconsciously decrease the amount of physical activity you engage in. Exercise will feel like graft; skipping workouts will seem like a sensible choice. The aim? To conserve your precious energy.

On top of this, an article published in the journal Family Practice noted that, “Caloric restriction is known to produce a… reduction in resting metabolic rate.” In essence, a severe diet decreases your ability to burn body fat.

But it gets worse…

Starving yourself can decrease muscle mass (it hurts your metabolism)

As we adhere to a rigid diet, we don’t only lose fat. We shed muscle mass, too. Yes, the very thing that helps us to burn calories and fat.

As the authors of a study published in the journal Nutrients said, the loss of muscle mass lowers metabolism, increases fatigue, and raises the risk for injury. These changes can result in a subsequent body fat overshoot, or regaining lost body fat.

In essence; as we diet we lose muscle tissue. This slows our metabolism and makes it likely that we’ll regain the kilos we’ve shed. We might even acquire more than we lost.

A study published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, takes this further. The authors said that, “… Efforts to restrict food intake might represent valuable indicators of susceptibility to future weight gain.” Dieting could lead to weight gain.

It seems that metabolic adaptation, a damaged metabolism, and reduced muscle mass form a nasty combination that makes weight loss unlikely.

But it goes deeper than this…

Highly processed ‘diet’ foods may encourage increased eating

Oftentimes, when someone decides it’s time to loose weight they jump on the weight loss bandwagon and choose “diet” foods and beverages. The majority of these products are highly processed to remove the fat which is labelled as the villain.

But what if these choices have the opposite effect than intended?

Research published in 2019 investigated the impact of a highly processed versus an unprocessed (natural) diet. It found that people on a processed diet ate 500 calories more every day! And, yes,  body weight changes were highly linked.

Why does a processed diet result in increased calorie consumption?

It seems that this food has “supernormal appetitive properties”. Designed to entice and seduce, it can be difficult to exercise restraint. Your head tells you no but, before you know it, you find your mouth moving as you munch on another muffin.

But more than this, these foods may result in what’s called pathological eating; a way of eating that is unhealthy. Researchers say, “Compulsive eating behavior is a pathological form of feeding that… resembles compulsive behavior associated with both drugs of abuse and behavioral addictions.”

In short, diet foods may sound like a good idea but they can lead you from your diet, and quickly.

Unsustainable sorrow

Food brings an experience of pleasure. For some people, eating is profoundly enjoyable. For others, it’s a smaller enjoyment. So avoiding foods that bring pleasure can be unsustainable. Few people wish for a life of deprivation!

Think about your previous attempts at dieting. Did you ever find yourself unable to resist that chocolate bar in your fridge? As you enjoyed its delightful smooth sweetness, did you hear the words, “Well, I’ve broken my diet. I may as well eat whatever I like. I’ll start “being good” again tomorrow?”

This is called the last supper for good reason, as the example explains.

The pleasure of food and the wish to avoid pain (deprivation) are two of the likely reasons why most people fail to shed weight and keep it off. The loss of well loved foods can be an unsustainable sorrow.

Maybe now you see why prior weight loss efforts have failed? Why it’s not your fault? That you’ve been fed a lie? (Pun intended)

Instead, we need to repair the underlying causes of weight gain. Inflammation, gut function, food addiction, behavioural challenges caused by emotional turmoil.

Plus, we need to eat at the times the body is designed to eat…

This is where intermittent fasting comes in.

Intermittent fasting is about the eating window not a starvation diet. It is about consuming calories when your body is able to use them most effectively. It is not about eating breakfast and dinner but skipping lunch. It is not about saving up for a hearty binge in the evening and then half-starving yourself the next day.

Intermittent fasting offers profound benefits for achieving a healthy size. Without consuming too few calories, hurting your metabolism, consuming highly processed foods, or committing to any form of deprivation. 
To learn more about Intermittant fasting visit our blog on Intermittant Fasting here.

Do you believe that deprivation and hunger are a requirement for dieting success? After all, the notion of “just eat less” is repetitively drummed into us. So often, in fact, that most people have accepted it as a fact of any weight loss journey.

But what if consuming too few calories is harming your body? What if it’s downgrading your metabolism and making it more difficult to maintain a healthy size in the long-term? What if the story is far more complicated than calories in, calories out?

Let me be blunt: The tale is more complex. There are 4 important concepts you need to understand.

Let’s take a look…

Consuming too few calories: Why eating too little can cause weight gain?

It sounds logical: The fewer calories you consume, the more fat you’ll lose. The obvious slimmer’s path, then, is a strict adherence to food deprivation. If you hit a plateau, just further diminish your energy intake. The theory is to force your body back on track.

However, when you don’t eat enough, you alter your biology. As starving was a real risk in times gone by, the body is innately designed to safeguard survival. There are in-built protective mechanisms to prevent death from occurring.

Too few calories leads to a process called metabolic adaptation. As you eat less, you subconsciously decrease the amount of physical activity you engage in. Exercise will feel like graft; skipping workouts will seem like a sensible choice. The aim? To conserve your precious energy.

On top of this, an article published in the journal Family Practice noted that, “Caloric restriction is known to produce a… reduction in resting metabolic rate.” In essence, a severe diet decreases your ability to burn body fat.

But it gets worse…

Starving yourself can decrease muscle mass (it hurts your metabolism)

As we adhere to a rigid diet, we don’t only lose fat. We shed muscle mass, too. Yes, the very thing that helps us to burn calories and fat.

As the authors of a study published in the journal Nutrients said, the loss of muscle mass lowers metabolism, increases fatigue, and raises the risk for injury. These changes can result in a subsequent body fat overshoot, or regaining lost body fat.

In essence; as we diet we lose muscle tissue. This slows our metabolism and makes it likely that we’ll regain the kilos we’ve shed. We might even acquire more than we lost.

A study published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, takes this further. The authors said that, “… Efforts to restrict food intake might represent valuable indicators of susceptibility to future weight gain.” Dieting could lead to weight gain.

It seems that metabolic adaptation, a damaged metabolism, and reduced muscle mass form a nasty combination that makes weight loss unlikely.

But it goes deeper than this…

Highly processed ‘diet’ foods may encourage increased eating

Oftentimes, when someone decides it’s time to loose weight they jump on the weight loss bandwagon and choose “diet” foods and beverages. The majority of these products are highly processed to remove the fat which is labelled as the villain.

But what if these choices have the opposite effect than intended?

Research published in 2019 investigated the impact of a highly processed versus an unprocessed (natural) diet. It found that people on a processed diet ate 500 calories more every day! And, yes,  body weight changes were highly linked.

Why does a processed diet result in increased calorie consumption?

It seems that this food has “supernormal appetitive properties”. Designed to entice and seduce, it can be difficult to exercise restraint. Your head tells you no but, before you know it, you find your mouth moving as you munch on another muffin.

But more than this, these foods may result in what’s called pathological eating; a way of eating that is unhealthy. Researchers say, “Compulsive eating behavior is a pathological form of feeding that… resembles compulsive behavior associated with both drugs of abuse and behavioral addictions.”

In short, diet foods may sound like a good idea but they can lead you from your diet, and quickly.

Unsustainable sorrow

Food brings an experience of pleasure. For some people, eating is profoundly enjoyable. For others, it’s a smaller enjoyment. So avoiding foods that bring pleasure can be unsustainable. Few people wish for a life of deprivation!

Think about your previous attempts at dieting. Did you ever find yourself unable to resist that chocolate bar in your fridge? As you enjoyed its delightful smooth sweetness, did you hear the words, “Well, I’ve broken my diet. I may as well eat whatever I like. I’ll start “being good” again tomorrow?”

This is called the last supper for good reason, as the example explains.

The pleasure of food and the wish to avoid pain (deprivation) are two of the likely reasons why most people fail to shed weight and keep it off. The loss of well loved foods can be an unsustainable sorrow.

Maybe now you see why prior weight loss efforts have failed? Why it’s not your fault? That you’ve been fed a lie? (Pun intended)

Instead, we need to repair the underlying causes of weight gain. Inflammation, gut function, food addiction, behavioural challenges caused by emotional turmoil.

Plus, we need to eat at the times the body is designed to eat…

This is where intermittent fasting comes in.

Intermittent fasting is about the eating window not a starvation diet. It is about consuming calories when your body is able to use them most effectively. It is not about eating breakfast and dinner but skipping lunch. It is not about saving up for a hearty binge in the evening and then half-starving yourself the next day.

Intermittent fasting offers profound benefits for achieving a healthy size. Without consuming too few calories, hurting your metabolism, consuming highly processed foods, or committing to any form of deprivation. 
To learn more about Intermittant fasting visit our blog on Intermittant Fasting here.